Book Discussion Kits

Book Discussion Kit Home

Sno-Isle Libraries and the Sno-Isle Foundation are proud to offer book discussion kits.

Each kit includes 10 copies of a single title. Resources for book discussions may be found at publishers' websites, bound into some editions of the book, or at www.bookreporter.com or www.readinggroupguides.com (Download a printer friendly list of book kits.)

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100 Year Miracle, The

Ream, Ashley

Once a century, for only six days, the bay around a small Washington island glows like a water-bound aurora. Dr. Rachel Bell, a scientist studying the 100-Year Miracle and the tiny sea creatures that create it, knows a secret about the phenomenon that inspired the regions myths and folklore: the rare green water may contain a power that could save Rachel's own life (and change the world). But the Miracle does things to people. Strange and mysterious things. And as these things begin to happen, Rachel has only six days to uncover and control the Miracle's secrets before the waters go dark for another hundred years"-- Provided by publisher.

2017 Whidbey Reads selection

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Crime Pacific Northwest
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After I'm Gone

Lippman, Laura

An addictive story that explores how one man's disappearance echoes through the lives of the five women he left behind--his wife, his daughters, and his mistress. Dead is dead. Missing is gone. Now, twenty-six years later, Roberto "Sandy" Sanchez, a retired Baltimore detective working cold cases for some extra cash, is investigating. What he discovers is a tangled web of bitterness, jealousy, resentment, greed, and longing stretching over five decades. And at its center is the man who, though long gone, has never been forgotten by the five women who loved him: the enigmatic Felix Brewer. Felix Brewer left five women behind. Now there are four. Does at least one of them know the truth?

LibraryReads Favorite

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Awards Crime Family Dynamics
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All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

Greenwood, Bryn

"As the daughter of a drug dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. Struggling to raise her little brother, Donal, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible adult around. Obsessed with the constellations, she finds peace in the starry night sky above the fields behind her house, until one night her star gazing causes an accident. After witnessing his motorcycle wreck, she forms an unusual friendship with one of her father's thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold. When tragedy rips Wavy's family apart, a well-meaning aunt steps in, and what is beautiful to Wavy looks ugly under the scrutiny of the outside world. Instead of playing it safe, Wavy has to learn to fight for Kellen, for her brother, and for herself."-- From the publisher

Book of the Month Club Book of the Year
Second Place Goodreads Best Fiction of 2016

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Coming of Age Crime Family Dynamics
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American Marriage, An

Jones, Tayari

A newly married couple’s lives are shattered by a wrongful imprisonment in this moving, character-driven story tackling themes of love, family, and racial injustice.

  • Women’s Prize for Fiction
  • BACALA Literary Award
  • New York Times Notable
  • ALA Notable Book
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    Amish Grace

    Kraybill, Donald

    On October 2, 2006, Charles Roberts entered a one room Amish school in Pennsylvania and opened fire on 10 girls, killing five and leaving the others critically wounded. This book explores the religious beliefs and practices that led the Amish community to forgive so quickly.
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    Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives

    Younge, Gary

    Journalist Gary Younge chronicles the stories of the lives lost on a random day in America, profiling ten victims whose deaths exemplify the statistic that on an average day in America, seven young people aged nineteen or under will be shot dead. "Gripping and eloquent yet challenging in the brutality of its subject, this important book calls for empathy and should be widely read" (Library Journal).

    J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize

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    Awards Crime Society & Culture Underrepresented Authors
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    Art Forger, The

    Shapiro, B.A.

    Almost twenty-five years after the infamous art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum--still the largest unsolved art theft in history--one of the stolen Degas paintings is delivered to the Boston studio of a young artist. Claire Roth has entered into a Faustian bargain with a powerful gallery owner by agreeing to forge the Degas in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But as she begins her work, she starts to suspect that this long-missing masterpiece--the very one that had been hanging at the Gardner for one hundred years--may itself be a forgery. The Art Forger is a thrilling novel about seeing--and not seeing--the secrets that lie beneath the canvas.

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    Crime Not so Grim Society & Culture
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    Art of Crash Landing, The

    DeCarlo, Melissa

    From a bright new talent comes this debut novel about a young woman who travels for the first time to her mother's hometown, and gets sucked into the mystery that changed her family forever. Mattie Wallace has really screwed up this time. Broke and knocked up, she's got all her worldly possessions crammed into six giant trash bags, and nowhere to go. Try as she might, Mattie can no longer deny that she really is turning into her mother, a broken alcoholic who never met a bad choice she didn't make. When Mattie gets news of a possible inheritance left by a grandmother she's never met, she jumps at this one last chance to turn things around. Leaving the Florida Panhandle, she drives eight hundred miles to her mother's birthplace--the tiny town of Gandy, Oklahoma. There, she soon learns that her mother remains a local mystery--a happy, talented teenager who inexplicably skipped town thirty-five years ago with nothing but the clothes on her back. But the girl they describe bears little resemblance to the damaged woman Mattie knew, and before long it becomes clear that something terrible happened to her mother, and it happened here.

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    Crime Family Dynamics Not so Grim
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    Association of Small Bombs, The

    Mahajan, Karan

    After witnessing his two friends killed by a "small" bomb that detonated in a Dehli marketplace, Mansoor Ahmed becomes involved with a charismatic young activist, whose allegiances and beliefs are more changeable than he could have imagined.

    National Book Award Finalist
    New York Times Notable
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    Big Little Lies

    Moriarty, Liane

    Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads: Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She's funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline's youngest ( how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline's teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline's ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

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    Crime Watch It
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    Bishop's Wife, The

    Harrison, Mette

    In the predominantly Mormon city of Draper, Utah, some seemingly perfect families have deadly secrets...As bishop, Kurt Wallheim is the ward's designated spiritual father, and that makes Linda the ward's unofficial mother, and her days are filled with comfort visits, community service, and informal counseling.

    But Linda is increasingly troubled by the church's patriarchal structure and secrecy, especially as a disturbing situation takes shape in the ward. One cold winter morning, a neighbor, Jared Helm, appears on the Wallheims' doorstep with his 5-year-old daughter, claiming that his wife, Carrie, disappeared in the middle of the night, leaving behind everything she owns. The circumstances surrounding Carrie's disappearance become more suspicious the more Linda learns about them, and she becomes convinced that Jared has murdered his wife and painted himself as an abandoned husband...

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    Crime Family Dynamics
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    Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America

    Phillips, Patrick

    Phillips digs into the history of a series of events in his hometown in Georgia. After a series of crimes were blamed on some of the area’s young black men, the citizens of the town saw fit to run off the entire African American population. Phillips researches the crimes and the mob mentality that followed, and shows how certain citizens of Forsyth County continued to intimidate and assault African Americans who wandered across their border for almost eighty years. This is the type of history that is far too important ever to forget. -- Amy Hall for LibraryReads.

    Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction & Nonfiction
    Library Reads
    Notable Books for Adults

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    Brewster

    Slouka, Mark

    Still reeling from the death of his older brother, a sixteen-year-old track star befriends a street-fighting rebel and together they search for redemption amidst the social changes of 1968.

    Alex Award
    Booklist Editors' Choice

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    Awards Coming of Age Crime Family Dynamics Young Adult
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    Burial Rites

    Kent, Hannah

    Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard. BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place. -- provided by publisher.

    Library Reads Favorite
    Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction
    International Dublin Literary Award
    Davitt Awards Best Debut and Readers' Choice
    Australian Book Industry Award

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    Awards Crime Historical International Society & Culture
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    Claire of the Sea Light

    Danticat, Edwidge

    From the best-selling author of Brother, I'm Dying and The Dew Breaker: a stunning new work of fiction that brings us deep into the intertwined lives of a small seaside town where a little girl, the daughter of a fisherman, has gone missing. Claire Limyè Lanmè--Claire of the Sea Light--is an enchanting child born into love and tragedy in Ville Rose, Haiti. Claire's mother died in childbirth, and on each of her birthdays Claire is taken by her father, Nozias, to visit her mother's grave. Nozias wonders if he should give away his young daughter to a local shopkeeper, who lost a child of her own, so that Claire can have a better life. But on the night of Claire's seventh birthday, when at last he makes the wrenching decision to do so, she disappears. As Nozias and others look for her, painful secrets, haunting memories, and startling truths are unearthed among the community of men and women whose individual stories connect to Claire, to her parents, and to the town itself.
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    Clark and Division

    Hirahara, Naomi

    Chicago, 1944: Twenty-year-old Aki Ito and her parents have just been released from Manzanar, where they have been detained by the US government since the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, together with thousands of other Japanese Americans. The life in California the Itos were forced to leave behind is gone; instead, they are being resettled two thousand miles away in Chicago, where Aki's older sister, Rose, was sent months earlier and moved to the new Japanese American neighborhood near Clark and Division streets. But on the eve of the Ito family's reunion, Rose is killed by a subway train. Aki, who worshipped her sister, is stunned. Officials are ruling Rose's death a suicide. Aki cannot believe her perfect, polished, and optimistic sister would end her life. Her instinct tells her there is much more to the story, and she knows she is the only person who could ever learn the truth. Inspired by historical events, Clark and Division infuses an atmospheric and heartbreakingly real crime fiction plot with rich period details and delicately wrought personal stories Naomi Hirahara has gleaned from thirty years of research and archival work in Japanese American history.

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    Crime Historical Society & Culture Underrepresented Authors WWII
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    Confidence Game, The

    Konnikova, Maria

    Think you can't get conned? Think again. The New York Times bestselling author of Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes explains how to spot the con before they spot you. How do they do it? Why are they successful? And what keeps us falling for it, over and over again? These are the questions that journalist and psychologist Maria Konnikova tackles in her mesmerizing new book. From multimillion-dollar Ponzi schemes to small-time frauds, Konnikova pulls together a selection of fascinating stories to demonstrate what all cons share in common, drawing on scientific, dramatic, and psychological perspectives. Insightful and gripping, the book brings readers into the world of the con, examining the relationship between artist and victim. The Confidence Game asks not only why we believe con artists, but also examines the very act of believing and how our sense of truth can be manipulated by those around us.

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    Crime Science & Nature Society & Culture
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    Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

    Franklin, Tom

    "...set in rural Mississippi. In the late 1970s, Larry Ott and Silas "32" Jones were boyhood pals. Their worlds were as different as night and day: Larry, the child of lower-middle-class white parents, and Silas, the son of a poor, single black mother. Yet for a few months the boys stepped outside of their circumstances and shared a special bond. But then tragedy struck: Larry took a girl on a date to a drive-in movie, and she was never heard from again. She was never found and Larry never confessed, but all eyes rested on him as the culprit. The incident shook the county-and perhaps Silas most of all. His friendship with Larry was broken, and then Silas left town. More than twenty years have passed. Larry, a mechanic, lives a solitary existence, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion. Silas has returned as a constable. He and Larry have no reason to cross paths until another girl disappears and Larry is blamed again. And now the two men who once called each other friend are forced to confront the past they've buried and ignored for decades" --Publisher description.

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    Dark Matter

    Crouch, Blake

    One night after an evening out, Jason Dessen, forty-year-old physics professor living with his wife and son in Chicago, is kidnapped at gunpoint by a masked man, driven to an abandoned industrial site and injected with a powerful drug. As he wakes, a man Jason's never met smiles down at him and says, "Welcome back, my friend." But this life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife; his son was never born; and he's not an ordinary college professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something impossible. Is it this world or the other that's the dream? How can he possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could have imagined--one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe. -- adapted from Fantastic Fiction website.

    LibraryReads Favorite

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    Dark Roads

    Stevens, Chevy

    For decades, people have been warned about the Cold Creek Highway. Hitchhikers have vanished along it over the years, and women have been known to have their cars break down... and never be seen again. When Hailey McBride decides to run away from an unbearable living situation, she thinks that her outdoor skills will help her disappear into the Cold Creek wilderness, and she counts on people thinking that she was the victim of the killer. One year later, Beth Chevalier arrives in Cold Creek to attend a memorial for the victims of the highway, but it might as well be one week for the amount of pain that Beth is still dealing with after her sister, Amber, was murdered the previous summer. Beth has quit university, is lying to her parents, and popping pills like Tic Tacs. Maybe this will finally bring her peace. When she gets a job at a local diner where Amber once worked, she connects with people who knew her sister. Beth wants to find who killed her sister and put her own life back together, but as she gets closer to the truth, she learns that there is more than one person lying in Cold Creek.

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    Crime
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    Deception Cove

    Laukkanen, Owen

    Jess Winslow reenters civilian life a new widow, with little more to her name than a falling-down house, a medical discharge for PTSD, and a loyal dog named Lucy, who helps her cope with the devastating memories of her time in Afghanistan. After fifteen years in state prison, Mason Burke owns one set of clothes, a wallet, and a photo of Lucy, the service dog he trained while behind bars. Seeking a fresh start, he sets out for Deception Cove, Washington, where the dog now lives. He arrives to find Jess facing off against the deputy county sheriff. Jess's late husband, a pilot, stole a valuable package from his drug dealer associates. The sheriff's department has seized Lucy-- and she will be destroyed if the package doesn't show up.

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    Crime Pacific Northwest
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    Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, The

    Jurczyk, Eva

    Liesl Weiss has been (mostly) happy working in the rare books department of a large university, managing details and working behind the scenes to make the head of the department look good. But when her boss has a stroke and she's left to run things, she discovers that the library's most prized manuscript is missing. Liesl tries to sound the alarm and inform the police about the missing priceless book but is told repeatedly to keep quiet to keep the doors open and the donors happy. But then a librarian goes missing as well. Liesl must investigate both disappearances, unspooling her colleagues' pasts like the threads of a rare book binding as it becomes clear that someone in the department must be responsible for the theft. What Liesl discovers about the dusty manuscripts she has worked among for so long--and about the people who preserve and revere them--shakes the very foundation on which she has built her life.

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    Destiny of the Republic

    Millard, Candice

    A narrative account of the twentieth president's political career offers insight into his background as a scholar and Civil War hero, his battles against the corrupt establishment, and Alexander Graham Bell's failed attempt to save him from an assassin'sbullet.

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    Awards Bio & Memoir Crime Historical Politics
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    Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic

    Quinones, Sam

    Acclaimed journalist Sam Quinones weaves together two classic tales of capitalism run amok whose unintentional collision has been catastrophic. The unfettered prescribing of pain medications during the 1990s reached its peak in Purdue Pharma's campaign to market OxyContin, its new, expensive—extremely addictive—miracle painkiller. Meanwhile, a massive influx of black tar heroin—cheap, potent, and originating from one small county on Mexico's west coast, independent of any drug cartel—assaulted small town and mid-sized cities across the country, driven by a brilliant, almost unbeatable marketing and distribution system. Dreamland is a revelatory account of the corrosive threat facing America. -From the publisher

    National Book Critics Circle Award: General Nonfiction
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    Elizabeth Is Missing

    Healey, Emma

    In this darkly riveting debut novel--a sophisticated psychological mystery that is also an heartbreakingly honest meditation on memory, identity, and aging--an elderly woman descending into dementia embarks on a desperate quest to find the best friend she believes has disappeared, and her search for the truth will go back decades and have shattering consequences. Maud, an aging grandmother, is slowly losing her memory--and her grip on everyday life. Yet she refuses to forget her best friend Elizabeth, whom she is convinced is missing and in terrible danger. But no one will listen to Maud--not her frustrated daughter, Helen, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth's mercurial son, Peter. Armed with handwritten notes she leaves for herself and an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth needs her help, Maud resolves to discover the truth and save her beloved friend.

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    Everything I Never Told You

    Ng, Celeste

    Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet . . . So begins the story of this exquisite debut novel, about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother's bright blue eyes and her father's jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue--in Marilyn's case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James's case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party. When Lydia's body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart.

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    Awards Crime Family Dynamics Historical Underrepresented Authors
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    Feather Thief, The: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century

    Johnson, Kirk Wallace

    On a cool June evening in 2009, after performing a concert at London's Royal Academy of Music, twenty-year-old American flautist Edwin Rist boarded a train for a suburban outpost of the British Museum of Natural History. Home to one of the largest ornithological collections in the world, the Tring museum was full of rare bird specimens whose gorgeous feathers were worth staggering amounts of money to the men who shared Edwin's obsession: the Victorian art of salmon fly-tying. Once inside the museum, the champion fly-tier grabbed hundreds of bird skins--some collected 150 years earlier by a contemporary of Darwin's, Alfred Russel Wallace, who'd risked everything to gather them--and escaped into the darkness. Two years later, Kirk Wallace Johnson was waist high in a river in northern New Mexico when his fly-fishing guide told him about the heist. He was soon consumed by the strange case of the feather thief. What would possess a person to steal dead birds? Had Edwin paid the price for his crime? What became of the missing skins? In his search for answers, Johnson was catapulted into a years-long, worldwide investigation. The gripping story of a bizarre and shocking crime, and one man's relentless pursuit of justice, The Feather Thief is also a fascinating exploration of obsession, and man's destructive instinct to harvest the beauty of nature.

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    Crime Historical Science & Nature
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    Fourth of July Creek

    Henderson, Smith

    After trying to help Benjamin Pearl, an undernourished, nearly feral eleven-year-old boy living in the Montana wilderness, social worker Pete Snow comes face-to-face with the boy's profoundly disturbed father, Jeremiah. With courage and caution, Pete slowly earns a measure of trust from this paranoid survivalist itching for a final conflict that will signal the coming End Times. But as Pete's own family spins out of control, Pearl's activities spark the full-blown interest of the FBI, putting Pete at the center of a massive manhunt from which no one will emerge unscathed. In this shattering and iconic American novel, Smith Henderson explores the complexities of freedom, community, grace, suspicion, and anarchy, brilliantly depicting our nation's disquieting and violent contradictions. Fourth of July Creek is an unforgettable, unflinching debut that marks the arrival of a major literary talent.

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    Crime Family Dynamics
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    Girl on the Train, The

    Hawkins, Paula

    Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She's even started to feel like she knows them. "Jess and Jason," she calls them. Their life-as she sees it-is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.9781594633669 And then she sees something shocking. It's only a minute until the train moves on, but it's enough. Now everything's changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

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    Girls, The

    Cline, Emma

    Mesmerized by a band of girls in the park whom she perceives as enjoying a life of free and careless abandon, 1960s teen Evie Boyd becomes obsessed with gaining acceptance into their circle. Evie, grateful for their charismatic leader's attention, the sense of family the group offers, and the assurance of the girls, is swept into their chaotic cult existence. As things turn darker, her choices become riskier. A wonderfully written debut novel about the harm we can do, to ourselves and others, in our hunger for belonging and acceptance. -- adapted from NoveList and Publishers Weekly.

    Shirley Jackson Award winner

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    Coming of Age Crime Society & Culture Young Adult
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    Just Mercy

    Stevenson, Bryan

    A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice--from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn't commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship--and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever. Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer's coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.
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    Killers of the Flower Moon: the Osage murders and the birth of the FBI

    Grann, David

    True crime & the 1920's case that made the FBI what it is today. While some were brought to justice, in this page-turner Grann's shows that the true scope of the rampant corruption and conspiracy was even bigger than what the Feds were able to discover. Suspenseful and spellbinding.

    ALA Notable Books
    Booklist Editors' Choice
    Edgar Allan Poe Awards
    Indies' Choice Book Awards
    Library Journal Top Ten
    LibraryReads Favorites

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    Kitchen House, The

    Grissom, Kathleen

    In this gripping novel, a dark secret threatens to expose the best and worst in everyone tied to the estate at a thriving plantation in Virginia in the decades before the Civil War. Orphaned during her passage from Ireland, young, white Lavinia arrives on the steps of the kitchen house and is placed, as an indentured servant, under the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate slave daughter. Lavinia learns to cook, clean, and serve food, while guided by the quiet strength and love of her new family.Through the unique eyes of Lavinia and Belle, Grissom's debut novel unfolds in a heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful story of class, race, dignity, deep-buried secrets, and familial bonds.

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    Land More Kind Than Home, A

    Cash, Wiley

    A stunning debut reminiscent of the beloved novels of John Hart and Tom Franklin, A Land More Kind Than Home is a mesmerizing literary thriller about the bond between two brothers and the evil they face in a small western North Carolina town. For a curious boy like Jess Hall, growing up in Marshall means trouble when your mother catches you spying on grown-ups. Adventurous and precocious, Jess is enormously protective of his older brother, Christopher, a mute whom everyone calls Stump. Though their mother has warned them not to snoop, Stump can't help sneaking a look at something he's not supposed to--an act that will have catastrophic repercussions, shattering both his world and Jess's. It's a wrenching event that thrusts Jess into an adulthood for which he's not prepared. While there is much about the world that still confuses him, he now knows that a new understanding can bring not only a growing danger and evil--but also the possibility of freedom and deliverance as well. Told by three resonant and evocative characters--Jess; Adelaide Lyle, the town midwife and moral conscience; and Clem Barefield, a sheriff with his own painful past--A Land More Kind Than Home is a haunting tale of courage in the face of cruelty and the power of love to overcome the darkness that lives in us all. These are masterful portrayals, written with assurance and truth, and they show us the extraordinary promise of this remarkable first novel.

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    LaRose

    Erdrich, Louise

    "North Dakota, late summer, 1999. Landreaux Iron stalks a deer along the edge of the property bordering his own. He shoots with easy confidence - but when the buck springs away, Landreaux realizes he's hit something else - he has killed his neighbor's five-year-old son. The youngest child of his friend and neighbor Dusty was best friends with Landreaux's five-year-old son, LaRose. The two families have always been close, sharing food, clothing, and rides into town. Horrified at what he's done, the recovered alcoholic turns to an Ojibwe tribe tradition - the sweat lodge - for guidance, and finds a way forward. Following an ancient means of retribution, he and Emmaline will give LaRose to the grieving Peter and Nola. "Our son will be your son now," they tell them." -from the publisher

    Booklist Editors' Choice

    National Book Critics Circle Award

    New York Times Notable Book

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    Last List of Miss Judith Kratt, The

    Bobotis, Andrea

    In 1929, 14-year-old Quincy Kratt is murdered. Sixty years later, his elderly sister, Miss Judith Kratt, makes a list of all the family heirlooms that have accumulated in her South Carolina Home over the decades. But, piece by piece, her list reveals a devastating family secret. As her inventory of items grows, the story unfolds - of brother Quincy and how he died, of sister Rosemarie and what she knew, of murder and secrets and coverups. In this highly-atmospheric southern thriller, all kinds of relationships are explored: between the present and the past, between members of a family; and also between white masters and Black servants.

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    Last Policeman, The

    Winters, Ben

    Winner of the 2013 Edgar® Award Winner for Best Paperback Original! What's the point in solving murders if we're all going to die soon, anyway? Detective Hank Palace has faced this question ever since asteroid 2011GV1 hovered into view. There's no chance left. No hope. Just six precious months until impact. The Last Policeman presents a fascinating portrait of a pre-apocalyptic United States. The economy spirals downward while crops rot in the fields. Churches and synagogues are packed. People all over the world are walking off the job--but not Hank Palace. He's investigating a death by hanging in a city that sees a dozen suicides every week--except this one feels suspicious, and Palace is the only cop who cares. The first in a trilogy, The Last Policeman offers a mystery set on the brink of an apocalypse. As Palace's investigation plays out under the shadow of 2011GV1, we're confronted by hard questions way beyond "whodunit." What basis does civilization rest upon? What is life worth? What would any of us do, what would we really do, if our days were numbered?

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    Last Thing He Told Me, The

    Dave, Laura

    Before Owen Michaels disappears, he smuggles a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her. Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers--Owen's sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother. As Hannah's increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered, as the FBI arrests Owen's boss, as a US marshal and federal agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn't who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen's true identity--and why he really disappeared. Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen's past, they soon realize they're also building a new future--one neither of them could have anticipated.

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    Leaving Berlin

    Kanon, Joseph

    Berlin 1948. Almost four years after the war's end, the city is still in ruins, a physical wasteland and a political symbol about to rupture. In the West, a defiant, blockaded city is barely surviving on airlifted supplies; in the East, the heady early days of political reconstruction are being undermined by the murky compromises of the Cold War. Espionage, like the black market, is a fact of life. Even culture has become a battleground, with German intellectuals being lured back from exile to add credibility to the competing sectors. Alex Meier, a young Jewish writer, fled the Nazis for America before the war. But the politics of his youth have now put him in the crosshairs of the McCarthy witch-hunts. Faced with deportation and the loss of his family, he makes a desperate bargain with the fledgling CIA: he will earn his way back to America by acting as their agent in his native Berlin. But almost from the start things go fatally wrong. A kidnapping misfires, an East German agent is killed, and Alex finds himself a wanted man. Worse, he discovers his real assignment-to spy on the woman he left behind, the only woman he has ever loved.

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    Awards Crime Historical International Politics
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    Leaving Time

    Picoult, Jodi

    For more than a decade, Jenna Metcalf has never stopped thinking about her mother, Alice, who mysteriously disappeared in the wake of a tragic accident. Refusing to believe that she would be abandoned as a young child, Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and pores over the pages of Alice's old journals. A scientist who studied grief among elephants, Alice wrote mostly of her research among the animals she loved, yet Jenna hopes the entries will provide a clue to her mother's whereabouts. Desperate to find the truth, Jenna enlists two unlikely allies in her quest. The first is Serenity Jones, a psychic who rose to fame finding missing persons--only to later doubt her gifts. The second is Virgil Stanhope, a jaded private detective who originally investigated Alice's case along with the strange, possibly linked death of one of her colleagues. As the three work together to uncover what happened to Alice, they realize that in asking hard questions, they'll have to face even harder answers.

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    Awards Crime Family Dynamics Sagas Young Adult
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    Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery

    Kolker, Robert

    Working closely with the victim's families, this tragic account details the lives and deaths of the five women - prostitutes who advertised on Craigslist - who were victims of the Long Island serial killer, the most skillful and accomplished psychopath in New York since the Son of Sam, David Berkowitz. - from NoveList

    New York Times Notable Book

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    Mercy Snow

    Baker, Tiffany

    In the tiny town of Titan Falls, New Hampshire, the paper mill dictates a quiet, steady rhythm of life. But one day a tragic bus accident sets two families on a course toward destruction, irrevocably altering the lives of everyone in their wake. June McAllister is the wife of the local mill owner and undisputed first lady in town. But the Snow family, a group of itinerant ne'er-do-wells who live on a decrepit and cursed property, have brought her--and the town--nothing but grief.

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    Coming of Age Crime Family Dynamics Society & Culture Young Adult
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    Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

    Sullivan, Matthew

    When a bookshop patron commits suicide, his favorite store clerk must unravel the puzzle he left behind. When Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia? As Lydia untangles the mystery of Joey's suicide, she unearths a long-buried memory from her own violent childhood.

    "Both charming and challenging" (Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review), Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is a "multi-generational tale of abandonment, desperation, and betrayal…inventive and intricately plotted" (Publishers Weekly, starred review).


    Whidbey Reads Selection
    LibraryReads Favorite

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    Morning Glory

    Jio, Sarah

    New York Times bestselling author Sarah Jio imagines life on Boat Street, a floating community on Seattle's Lake Union, home to people of artistic spirit who for decades protect the dark secret of one startling night in 1959 Fleeing an East Coast life marred by tragedy, Ada Santorini takes up residence on houseboat number seven on Boat Street. She discovers a trunk left behind by Penny Wentworth, a young newlywed who lived on the boat half a century earlier. Ada longs to know her predecessor's fate, but little suspects that Penny's mysterious past and her own clouded future are destined to converge.

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    Crime Family Dynamics Historical Pacific Northwest
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    My Heart Is a Chainsaw

    Graham Jones, Stephen

    Jade Daniels is an angry, half-Indian outcast with an abusive father, an absent mother, and an entire town that wants nothing to do with her. She lives in her own world, a world in which protection comes from an unusual source: horror movies...especially the ones where a masked killer seeks revenge on a world that wronged them. And Jade narrates the quirky history of Proofrock as if it is one of those movies. But when blood actually starts to spill into the waters of Indian Lake, she pulls us into her dizzying, encyclopedic mind of blood and masked murderers, and predicts exactly how the plot will unfold. Yet, even as Jade drags us into her dark fever dream, a surprising and intimate portrait emerges...a portrait of the scared and traumatized little girl beneath the Jason Voorhees mask: angry, yes, but also a girl who easily cries, fiercely loves, and desperately wants a home. A girl whose feelings are too big for her body. My Heart Is a Chainsaw is her story, her homage to horror and revenge and triumph.

    Winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel

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    Awards Coming of Age Crime Underrepresented Authors
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    Mystery of Mrs. Christie, The

    Benedict, Marie

    In December 1926, Agatha Christie goes missing. Investigators find her empty car on the edge of a deep, gloomy pond, the only clues some tire tracks nearby and a fur coat left in the car--strange for a frigid night. Her World War I veteran husband and her daughter have no knowledge of her whereabouts, and England unleashes an unprecedented manhunt to find the up-and-coming mystery author. Eleven days later, she reappears, just as mysteriously as she disappeared, claiming amnesia and providing no explanations for her time away.
    The puzzle of those missing eleven days has persisted. With her trademark historical fiction exploration into the shadows of the past, acclaimed author Marie Benedict brings us into the world of Agatha Christie, imagining why such a brilliant woman would find herself at the center of such murky historical mysteries.
    What is real, and what is mystery? What role did her unfaithful husband play, and what was he not telling investigators?
    Agatha Christie novels have withstood the test of time, due in no small part to Christie's masterful storytelling and clever mind that may never be matched, but Agatha Christie's untold history offers perhaps her greatest mystery of all.

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    Crime Historical Society & Culture
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    Only Daughter

    Snoekstra, Anna

    In 2003, sixteen-year-old Rebecca Winter disappeared. She'd been enjoying her summer break: working at a fast-food restaurant, crushing on an older boy and shoplifting with her best friend. Mysteriously ominous things began to happen--a presence in her room at night, periods of blackouts, a feeling of being watched--though Bec remained oblivious of what was to come. Eleven years later she is replaced. A young woman, desperate after being arrested, claims to be the decade-missing Bec. Soon the impostor is living Bec's life. Sleeping in her bed. Hugging her mother and father. Learning her best friends' names. Playing with her little brothers. But Bec's welcoming family and enthusiastic friends are not quite as they seem. As the impostor dodges the detective investigating her case, she begins to delve into the life of the real Bec Winter--and soon realizes that whoever took Bec is still at large, and that she is in imminent danger.

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    Crime Family Dynamics International Young Adult
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    Orphan Master's Son, The

    Johnson, Adam

    The son of a singer mother whose career forcibly separated her from her family and an influential father who runs an orphan work camp, Pak Jun Do rises to prominence using instinctive talents and eventually becomes a professional kidnapper and romantic rival to Kim Jong Il. By the author of Parasites Like Us.

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    Awards Coming of Age Crime International Politics
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    Poisoner's Handbook, The: murder and the birth of forensic medicine in Jazz Age New York

    Blum, Deborah

    The untold story of how poison rocked Jazz Age New York City. A pair of forensic scientists began their trailblazing chemical detective work, fighting to end an era when untraceable poisons offered an easy path to the perfect crime. Chief medical examiner Charles Norris and toxicologist Alexander Gettler investigate a family mysteriously stricken bald, factory workers with crumbling bones, a diner serving poisoned pies, and many others. Each case presents a deadly new puzzle and Norris and Gettler create revolutionary experiments to tease out even the wiliest compounds from human tissue. From the vantage of their laboratory it also becomes clear that murderers aren't the only toxic threat--modern life has created a kind of poison playground, and danger lurks around every corner.

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    Crime Historical Not so Grim Science & Nature
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    Radium Girls, The

    Moore, Kate

    As World War I raged across the globe, hundreds of young women toiled away at the radium-dial factories, where they painted clock faces with a mysterious new substance called radium. Assured by their bosses that the luminous material was safe, the women themselves shone brightly in the dark, covered from head to toe with the glowing dust. With such a coveted job, these "shining girls" were considered the luckiest alive--until they began to fall mysteriously ill. As the fatal poison of the radium took hold, they found themselves embroiled in one of America's biggest scandals and a groundbreaking battle for workers' rights. The Radium Girls explores the strength of extraordinary women in the face of almost impossible circumstances and the astonishing legacy they left behind.

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